Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014.
This will be our fourth bloc on the Martyrs Festival and rally; from an inauspicious start with seven of us and a black hanky on a stick, we’ve more than doubled each year to about seventy-five in 2013, from as far afield as Wales, France and the Midlands. Our commitment is to the original spirit of the Martyrs: working class self-organisation in the face of a hostile bourgeois state, more relevant today than ever, owing to the abject failure of political and industrial representation to meet the needs of the people, and the increasingly repressive reaction of the state to autonomous protest and resistance.
Once again we have a stall in the Martyrs Marquee; we will be carrying stock from Freedom Books, Britain’s oldest anarchist publisher, plus flags, badges, zines and pamphlets for donations, and loads of free stuff. If you’d like to take part and help run the stall, or if you have literature you’d like to give away or accept donations for please get in touch.
For those who are staying for the weekend festival, an advance party will arrive on Friday afternoon to pitch tents; we corral them together so that people can get to know each other, exchange contacts and ideas, plan and plot another year of class struggle.
First of all, respect to all those who turned out at short notice to oppose the EDL in Westminster last weekend, there’s a bit of comment on it below, and if you can make the counter-BNP action tomorrow, you will be most welcome. If not, you will probably find an EDL demo within gobbing distance of your living room! They are springing up like mushrooms – check social media for details.
What is going on is basically a turf war between far-right groups to exploit the horrific death of Lee Rigby. The eddles are holding simultaneous ‘wreath laying’ events at war memorials all over the land as a spoiler for the BNP’s march. Wherever they get sufficient numbers, these will most likely turn into piss-ups and drunken rampages so it’s important that none of them are unopposed.
If your area has a mass mobilisation, please support it; if they are coming to your neck of the woods and you’re the only anti-fascist in the village, you have a choice of attending one of the others or mobbing up with some of your mates – who may not agree with your politics but may not want their town centre controlled by right-wing extremists either. Failing that, if you can do so inconspicuously, hang around and take pictures, or notes, and pass your observations to the network through your local group.
Also be aware that left and radical meetings, cultural events, anti-austerity demo’s etc may be attacked and will need stewarding; union offices and Muslim businesses are also possible targets for the fascists. Whatever you do, don’t just sit at home and watch it all unfold on the Internet.
The present spike in fascist activity ought to kick us out of bed, anti-fascism is not a hobby, it’s a necessity. One observation from Monday was that whilst they outnumbered us massively, few of them were up for any contact beyond throwing stuff and threatening bystanders. The fact that they stood in the sun for hours listening to a bunch of old con-men who all hate each other indicates that many of them are completely new to this, it beggars belief that anyone would give the time of day to an arse-bugle like Yaxley-Lennon if they’d been following what’s gone on in the last few years.
So for now, it looks like the EDL have managed to pull the disaffected UKIP voters on to the streets, the facebook fascists have become fair-weather fascists, they must be discouraged before they get a taste for it.
Fascist manifestations are expected in the following locations:
Leicester, Luton, Peterborough, Dereham, Ipswich, Cambs, Sheffield, Stoke, Halifax, Leeds, Lowestoft, Wolverhampton, Islington, Manchester, Aldershot, Burton on Trent, Rochdale, Ashford (Middlesex), Stevenage, Loughborough, Bromsgrove, Preston, Sunderland, Dudley, Coventry, Takeley, Wootton Bassett, West Bromwich, Oldham, Romford, Macclesfield, Cardiff, Lewisham, Southampton, Glasgow, Ayr, Colerne, Walsall, Scarborough, Hemel Hempstead, Conwy, Chingford, Doncaster, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter, Brighton, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Slough, Reading, Oxford, Northampton and Basingstoke.
At our national delegate council on 24/01/13, the Solidarity Federation officially recognised three new locals, in Calderdale, Hastings and the Solent. We also recognised a Belfast local as being in-formation prior to reaching a formal decision at national conference in April.
We also agreed to make regular donations to the Sparrow’s Nest library in Nottingham which holds the collection of one of our members which stretches back to the Syndicalist Workers’ Federation and is an important record of British anarcho-syndicalism. We will also be making a donation to the London anarchist bookfair collective and encourage others to do the same.
The new Solent local has members from Bournemouth to Bognor and all stations in between, if you are interested, use the contact form on SolFed’s website. The server is undergoing maintenance at the moment so if you can’t get on it contact Wessex Solidarity and we’ll pass it on.